Antipolo,  Life,  Philippines

The Art of Giving

MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY, ANTIPOLO CITY – I am one of those people who declutter my life as often as possible. I believe in simplicity. Once in a while I open my cabinets to check for things I don’t foresee using in the near future, and see which ones I could either give away or throw away. More often than not, my desks – both at home and at work – are clean and empty. If there is something there that I haven’t used in a few months, I assume that I probably never will so I pass them on to someone who is more likely to find value in it. 

I know of some people who keep a lot of old and useless stuff. I respect that. They say it’s because they might find use for it some time in the future, and sometimes they’re right too. Time and again I’ve found myself looking for something I’ve already given away in one of my declutter sessions. It’s very rare though. And so at the end of the day I’d rather give them away and make somebody else happy in the process.

In the past couple of years, I’ve accumulated a bunch of stuff toys – “bunch” being an understatement. I have loads of them. I’m not a collector or anything. Most of them have been given, some won at an amusement park, things like that. For a period of time they’ve made me smile, made me feel loved, occupied a part of my bed, some have even been humped by my dog. But for a longer period, I just kept them in two jungle boxes under my desk. They were there, unused and somewhat useless, taking up my life’s space.

At first, it felt wrong to give away things that were gifts for me. But when I thought deeper, I felt that it didn’t make any sense to keep them if they didn’t serve any purpose for myself. I know they’re damned cute and nice to have and all, but I’m also sure someone else will appreciate them far better than I would.

And so just like that, I threw them all in a big garbage bag and into the trunk of my car. I didn’t even filter them. I didn’t leave any for myself. The point is to let them all go.

Next thing I know I was driving up Antipolo with my sister because I heard from a friend that there’s an orphanage there somewhere. I didn’t know what the name is or where it is exactly so we had to ask around until we found Missionaries of Charity along Sumulong Highway.

It was a surprise visit, so we just knocked on the gate and they let us in. We introduced ourselves to one of the Sisters who are taking care of the children, and told her simply that we wanted to give away some toys.

The kids were all at the playground at that time. It was afternoon.

Upon seeing us and what we had in our hands, the children flocked to us right away. There was more than enough for everybody.

I didn’t expect myself to do this voluntarily. The last time I’ve been to an orphanage was probably back in high school on required outreaches. When we have old clothes and toys and stuff, the first thing that most of us think of is to go on a garage sale and make a bit of money. It’s still a choice, sure. I just thought that unlike me, most of these kids were never given the opportunity to own these kinds of quality toys. If I sell them, the toys will probably end up in the hands of people who can afford them to begin with.

Maybe in a month or two they’ll get tired of playing with them – I really don’t know. But seeing those smiles in their faces when they received the gifts is priceless. It’s just priceless.

They probably won’t even remember me, or that I ever gave them anything. But that’s not the point, is it? The point of giving is to give.

The truth is that we are all more blessed than we are thankful for. At times the world will seem unfair. Heck, maybe the world is unfair. But if we try to zoom out of our day-to-day problems – the evening traffic, our lack of a love life, our protruding belly fats – and give ourselves a better picture of what we have rather than what we want to have, we’d understand that most of the time we’re complaining, we actually don’t have a right to.

If you have a loving family, one friend who’d give you honest opinions about yourself; if you’re not worrying about whether there will be food on the table in your next meal, or whether your slippers will last you another day; if your primary concern in life is to make sure your hair looks good the whole day… Damn, you’re lucky. You’re fine, dear. Most of us are.

So instead of spending time thinking of all the things we can take from the world and all the things it owes us – whether it’s money or beauty or time or whatnot – how about we pause once in a while to think of what we can give? It doesn’t have to be in the form of material things. It could be a talent, or time, or something as simple as a smile or a tap on the back.

The things that seem useless to us or just serve as clutter in our lives may mean a whole different thing to somebody else.

 

Missionaries of Charity is located along Sumulong Highway, Antipolo City. To get there, from Marcos Highway, go straight and turn right in the Masinag intersection. Go up Sumulong Highway until you see Cloud Nine on the left. After which, you’ll see the Missionaries of Charity sign. Turn left. The road will take you there.

Vida is a restless, universe-loving, forever-child with a very short attention span. She is mostly enthusiastic about travel, adventure, technology, fitness, and lately, life hacks. Most of her days are spent on tech partnerships in a telco, and most nights practicing capoeira (or yoga, or boxing, or trying some other unheard of art of movement). She likes experiments, little projects, and writes too, sometimes, at vidasioson.com. And if you're interested, sh... Hey, look, a flower!

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